Today, the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) announced the launch of Stellar Next-Gen, an initiative to foster the growth and development of tomorrow's business leaders and developers. SDF will collaborate with universities and other educational institutions worldwide to support and promote efforts that further SDF's mission to create equitable access to the global financial system.
The state of fintech growth and talent
As fintech becomes increasingly prevalent, it’s becoming a prerequisite for firms to remain competitive in the marketplace. Globally, the fintech industry was valued at 1.5 trillion dollars in 2019 and is estimated to grow by 23.58% (CAGR) into 2025 (Globe Newswire, 2020). However, there are challenges in finding and hiring qualified applicants with the right skill sets. INSART’s Fintech Talent Shortage report (2020) found that:
As the blockchain and fintech industries continue to grow, colleges and universities are preparing their students for this paradigm shift in web applications with courses and programs to bridge this skills gap. Through Stellar Next-Gen, SDF will provide support in a way that suits students' needs, including but not limited to: offering guest lectures, helping students build projects on Stellar, and assisting in adding blockchain and Stellar-specific content to their curricula.
Stellar Next-Gen in action
Stellar Next-Gen will support top academic programs and organizations such as Blockchain at Berkeley, University College of London’s Centre of Blockchain Technologies, and the National University of Singapore’s Fintech Lab. Stellar Next-Gen will also further adopt and create inclusive communities in the industry by collaborating with organizations bringing blockchain education and events to underrepresented groups. So far, SDF has sponsored five student-focused hackathons hosted by Encode Club and Minority Programmers Association, with more to come later this year.
“To build a more inclusive financial system, we have to provide students of all backgrounds the opportunity to learn the ins-and-outs of blockchain technology,” said Denelle Dixon, CEO and Executive Director of the Stellar Development Foundation. “They must be empowered to see themselves as part of the solution. This initiative builds on our ongoing work with universities and organizations to make sure the next generation of builders is equipped with the information, tools, and mentorship they need.”
“This academic year the blockchain-related curriculum at UC Berkeley will include 5 different courses enrolling over 1,000 students,” said Jocelyn Weber, Director of the UC Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator, a joint effort by the student club Blockchain at Berkeley, the Haas School of Business and Berkeley Engineering. “We have seen a tremendous increase in interest among students at all levels and majors in how blockchain technology will shape a more financially inclusive and sustainable future. Our work with the Stellar Development Foundation has been ongoing for several years and has included both educational efforts and working with teams from their ecosystem, such as Leaf Global Fintech, providing cross-border banking for refugees, and Liquid Mortgage, working to reshape a legacy industry with new efficiencies through patent-awarded technology. We look forward to strengthening these education and community-building efforts with the team at SDF.”
“We're extremely happy to be working with SDF and thrilled that they see the value of the work we're doing at NUS FinTech Lab. We believe that the skills and knowledge we're providing to our students will be key for the industry to thrive and we're really excited to be part of the future generation of blockchain and fintech development." Associate Professor Keith B. Carter, Director of NUS FinTech Lab, NUS School of Computing.
Build the next generation of blockchain solutions with us
Over the next school year, SDF will continue to establish and develop vital relationships with universities and other educational organizations through courses, events, competitions, and more. Visit the Stellar Next-Gen page on stellar.org to find out more and keep up to date on the most recent engagements.
If you are a university or educational organization interested in boosting your faculty and students’ blockchain and fintech learning, we encourage you to reach out. Students intrigued to learn more can join a dedicated Discord server to stay updated on events and hackathons, in addition to collaborating with each other on Stellar-based projects.